What Can I Do If an Insurance Company Denied My Car Accident Claim?

What Can I Do If an Insurance Company Denied My Car Accident Claim?

If an insurance company denies your car accident claim, you may hire a lawyer to fight for the compensation you deserve. An initial denial of a claim does not mean the end of the claims process. An attorney will take the necessary action to revive the claim and negotiate for your deserved compensation.

A claim denial may indicate that the insurance company acted in bad faith. This is a clear reason to hire an experienced car accident lawyer who will fight for a fair financial recovery.

Insurance Company Denied My Car Accident Claim Guide

Why Do Insurance Companies Deny Car Accident Claims?

What Can I Do If an Insurance Company Denied My Car Accident Claim

There are several potential reasons for an auto insurance provider to deny a claim. First, consider that there was no legitimate basis to deny the claim. Instead, the insurer may have denied your claim simply to avoid paying money that it hopes to keep for itself.

To simplify a complex matter, insurance companies make money by receiving more in premium payments than it pays out through claims. Therefore, an insurance company may deny your car accident claim, hoping you will accept the denial without a fight.

Need Legal Help? Let’s talk.

Other reasons why an insurer may deny a car accident claim include:

The Insurer Incorrectly Determined That You Caused the Accident

The insurance company may have improperly determined that you are at fault for your car accident because of:

  • An inaccurate or incomplete police report
  • Lack of evidence about who caused the accident
  • A misinterpretation of the facts of your accident by insurance representatives 
  • A misinterpretation of statements you made or actions you took after the collision

Depending on the state where your accident happened, the question of fault can directly affect which insurer owes you compensation or how much total compensation you can receive through insurers.

The Insurer Lacks (or Ignores) Proof That the Accident Injured You

Suppose you are seeking compensation for medical expenses and other losses related to an injury. In that case, the insurance company may claim that your injury is not the direct result of your accident.

The insurer may claim that:

  • You had the injury before the accident happened
  • The accident worsened an injury but did not cause the injury
  • You waited too long to get medical treatment, so the injury might have happened between the time of your accident and the time the insurer received your claim

Your attorney will consider how to prove your injuries resulted from your accident.

The Insurer Claims That the Policy Warrants the Denial

The insurer may cite one or more clauses in your policy, or a third party's policy, to deny your claim.

How an Attorney May Combat These Reasons for Denying a Claim

An attorney may respond to these reasons for denying a car accident claim by:

  • Proving that another motorist caused the accident: The attorney may need to secure evidence that the insurance adjuster doesn’t have. Video footage of your accident, eyewitness accounts, and expert testimony about who caused the accident can change the insurer's decision about fault.
  • Proving that the accident injured you: Your attorney may secure your past medical records to prove your injuries are accident-related. Suppose a preexisting injury became worse because of your accident. In that case, your lawyer may pull medical images of the injury before the accident to compare with images of your injury after the accident.
  • Reviewing insurance policies and citing language that proves you deserve coverage for your losses: Attorneys know how to read insurance policies. Your lawyer will dive into all applicable policies and cite those policies to explain why you deserve compensation.

If an insurer gives other reasons for denying your claim, your attorney will respond appropriately.

Will an Insurance Company That Denies a Claim Use Other Bad-Faith Tactics to Withhold Compensation?

If an insurer denies your car accident claim because it intends to pay you as little as possible (and pay you nothing if it can), it may employ other bad-faith tactics to avoid paying you.

Those tactics may include:

  • Delaying your claim: An insurer may put you under financial pressure (or achieve other ends) by delaying your claim. An attorney will press the insurance company to process your claim in a reasonable time and may take legal action if the insurer refuses to do so.
  • Extending an unfair settlement offer: Insurers who accept financial liability for a car accident may offer a cheap, quick settlement to beneficiaries. The insurer may hope you'll accept the lowball settlement because you're under financial stress or don't know better than to continue fighting for more money.
  • Refusing to negotiate in good faith: Once you decline a lowball settlement, your lawyer may resume negotiations with the liable insurance company. However, if the insurer refuses to engage in good faith, your lawyer will need to consider a lawsuit.

Personal injury lawyers are no strangers to bad-faith tactics from insurance companies. Your attorney will employ any tactics they see fit to pursue the compensation you deserve.

How Will an Attorney Respond to a Denied Car Accident Claim?

Your lawyer will need to respond formally to the denial of your car accident claim, and they may do so by:

Examining (or Demanding an Explanation of) the Insurance Company’s Reason(s) for Denying the Claim

Your attorney will demand an explanation of why the auto insurance provider denied your claim. Once your lawyer understands the reason for the denial, they will form a strategy for reversing the decision.

Resubmit the Amended Claim

Your attorney may resubmit your claim with all necessary changes. The amended claim should address any shortcomings that led to the original denial.

Provide Any Documentation That Led to the Claim Denial

If the reason for denial was a lack of proof of fault or lack of proof that your injuries are accident-related, your attorney may get documentation proving your case. They will submit such documentation to the liable insurance company as part of your amended claim.

Once your lawyer submits the updated claim, the next step may be negotiating with the insurance company for the compensation you deserve.

Steps Your Attorney May Take Once Your Car Accident Claim Is Active Again

As they seek the insurance company to pay you fairly, your lawyer will build the strongest case possible. A personal injury attorney's role in a car accident case may include the following:

Investigating the Car Accident

Your attorney will gain a complete understanding of your accident and may do so by:

  • Recording your account of the collision
  • Interviewing eyewitnesses
  • Getting the police report from your accident
  • Seeking video footage of the accident
  • Collecting any other facts, evidence, and accounts that help them understand how and why your car accident happened

If the insurance company attempts to challenge your account of the accident, your lawyer will have the necessary documentation to prove your account of events.

A car accident can be immensely costly, especially when the victim suffers an injury.

To pursue the compensation you deserve, your lawyer will need to document your damages and may do so with the following:

  • Your account of pain and suffering
  • A mental health professional’s diagnosis of any accident-related conditions, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Medical bills
  • Images of injuries
  • Proof of lost income
  • Invoices for vehicle repairs, temporary transportation, and any other economic damages you experience because of your accident 

Your lawyer will seek documentation of every damage you’ve experienced.

Calculating a Fair Settlement

Once they have accounted for your damages, your lawyer will calculate the cost of those damages. Your attorney may need to project any future damages you are likely to suffer and may work with economists and other experts to do so.

The sum of your accident-related damages will determine the settlement value your lawyer seeks.

Engaging in Settlement Negotiations with the Liable Insurer(s)

Your lawyer will represent you in settlement negotiations with the liable insurance company. During negotiations, your attorney may present documentation of your damages, proof of who caused the accident, and their calculation of a fair settlement value.

Your attorney may file a lawsuit if insurers refuse to pay you fairly. Most civil lawsuits settle, and your lawyer can negotiate during litigation for a fair out-of-court settlement.

If necessary, your lawyer will take your case to trial. While going to court comes with risks and financial expenses, it may result in a substantial financial recovery for you.

What Damages Should a Car Accident Victim Get Compensation For?

Every car accident victim suffers different damages. Personal injury lawyers document damages for each client they represent. Once they understand the client’s damages, the goal becomes securing the compensation the client deserves.

Your attorney will seek compensation for any accident-related damages you’ve experienced, which may include:

Pain and Suffering

Several studies have shown that car accidents can cause post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which is one of several forms of pain and suffering you may experience.

Car accident victims may receive compensation to account for:

  • Injury-related pain (both acute and chronic)
  • Emotional anguish
  • Psychological distress
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • PTSD 
  • Any other psychological, emotional, or physical conditions that qualify as pain and suffering

Your lawyer should also pursue compensation for treatment for your pain and suffering.

Healthcare Costs

Medical bills are one of the most common damages from car accidents. The type of injuries you’ve suffered, the severity of your injury symptoms, and the types of treatment you need will all affect the cost of your medical care.

A car accident victim may need a host of medical services, including:

  • Ambulance transport
  • Emergency treatment
  • Surgery 
  • Medications 
  • One or more nights of hospitalization 
  • Rehabilitation 

Medical care is not optional after a car accident but can be costly. Your attorney must seek complete coverage for your accident-related medical care.

Professional Damages

Many car accident victims need time to recover before returning to work. Some victims never work again or can never work in the same way they did before the accident.

Professional damages in a car accident case may include:

  • Lost income
  • Decreased earning power
  • Lost chances to earn bonuses and promotions
  • Loss of progress on your career trajectory
  • Loss of fulfillment you get from working

Professional damages can have both economic and non-economic costs. A capable lawyer will calculate the entire cost of professional damages resulting from your car accident.

Property Expenses

Car accident victims may experience several property-related costs, including:

  • Repairs for their vehicle
  • Replacement of a totaled vehicle
  • Repair or replacement of any personal property inside your vehicle at the time of the accident
  • Temporary transportation while your vehicle is undergoing repairs or you’re working towards replacing a totaled vehicle

Car accidents can take a life-changing toll on victims. Your attorney will work to restore what your car accident has cost you.

Do I Have to Hire a Lawyer to Get Fair Compensation for a Car Accident?

The law does not require you to hire a lawyer to seek compensation after a car accident, but you always should. This is especially true if an insurance company denied your claim.

You should hire an attorney to assist with your claim because:

  • Facing the demands of a claim on your own can compromise your physical and psychological health
  • The demands of your recovery may prevent you from dedicating substantial time to your claim
  • You may lack experience or effectiveness in negotiating a settlement with liable insurers
  • An attorney may secure a more significant financial recovery than you can secure on your own (though attorneys never guarantee results)

With your injuries, you should never focus on the claims process. Allow a trusted car accident lawyer to handle everything for you.

Car accident victims face deadlines for car accident claims and lawsuits. Do not delay in researching and consulting with a personal injury attorney in your area. They can assess your options and advise you what to expect.